Frequently asked questions

What is a Museum?
The understanding of the question has changed and evolved. Latvian Law on Museums defines it as follows:
Museum is an educational and research institution that is available to the public; its goal is to acquire, conserve, and popularize (according to the specificity of a particular museum) nature, tangible and intangible cultural assets and promote public education and development.

ICOM or The International Committee of Museums adopted new definition of museums in 2001:
A museum is a non-profit, permanent institution in the service of society and its development, open to the public, which acquires, conserves, researches, communicates and exhibits the tangible and intangible heritage of humanity and its environment for the purposes of education, study and enjoyment.
The use of both definitions of a museum is neither restricted by the respective authorities, territory, organizational structure or collection contents.
ICOM believes that, in addition to institutions designated as "museums", the following qualify as museums for the purposes of this definition:
- natural, archaeological and ethnographic monuments and sites and historical monuments and sites of a museum nature that acquire, conserve and communicate material evidence of people and their environment;
- institutions holding collections of and displaying live specimens of plants and animals, such as botanical and zoological gardens, aquaria and vivaria;
- science centres and planetaria;
- non-profit art exhibition galleries;
- nature reserves;
- international or national or regional or local museum organisations, ministries or departments or public agencies responsible for museums as per the definition given under this article;
- non-profit institutions or organisations undertaking conservation research, education, training, documentation and other activities relating to museums and museology;
- such other institutions as the Executive Council, after seeking the advice of the Advisory Committee, considers as having some or all of the characteristics of a museum, or as supporting museums and professional museum personnel through museological research, education or training;
- non-profit making cultural centres that facilitate the preservation, continuation and management of living heritage.

How many museums are there in Latvia?
There are over 200 institutions in Latvia which call themselves a museum. State accredited museums, i.e. museums that meet certain criteria and standards set by the state: government - 84, state 36, and 7 private.

What museums do?
Functions of the museums are as follows:
1. acquire, document, and conserve the tangible and intangible heritage of humanity and nature;
2. research museums collections and related information;
3. communication of the tangible and intangible heritage of humanity and its environment for the purposes of education and study through displays and exhibitions as well as through other activities associated with the museum's educational and promotional ways.

What is an accredited museum?
Museum Accreditation in Latvia is held since 1998 and is subject to Law on Museums and Cabinet of Ministers Regulations regarding Accreditation of Museums adopted in 1997. Accreditation is a process in which a certification of museums activities is presented, as a result of which a museum may be granted state-recognized or accredited status for a fixed period up to five years. How many people visit museums in Latvia a year?
With accreditation:
- It is publicly acknowledged museum to meet accepted standards of museum management, collection and preservation services;
- The potential museum object or collections donors are assured that the accredited museum is a suitable place for their cultural property to be stored and communicated.
- Accredited museum is eligible for special state budget funds earmarked for nationally significant projects and programs, as well as for state or local government funding to ensure the museum's basic functions.
- A private museum acquires the right to qualify for the state budget funds specially designed for a specific natural science, cultural, fine arts and other nationally significant projects and programs to be realized.